About a month ago I discovered a cool project called #CheerLights. Basically people around the world tweet @CheerLight commands and control everyone’s LEDs that are hooked up to the program. So, you could feasibly have a holiday shirt that glows colors based on the whim of someone in Paris. Well, that’s what I would like to do with it. Anyway, I caught this fun project on Hackaday by Dr. Lucy Rogers, of Element 14 fame. She’s a humorous engineer that’s always coming up with inventive projects. In fact, you might say she is the “glass half full” type given this particular project. After a recent wrist break, instead of complaining about the color selection of the cast, she decided to hack it with some Christmas tree style lights controlled by #CheerLights.
You can read the details on her blog, but you can see it’s an easy mix of an Adafruit Flora, a Bluefruit LE module and NeoPixels. Soldered wires are a nice choice as they help show the line of the tree and add trim. Velcro holds everything in place, and of course the real fun comes with a phone loaded with Adafruit’s Bluefruit LE Connect App and Twitter. With some simple commands like “@CheerLights paint the town red”, you can make the world a fun place for Christmas or Valentine’s Day. In fact, the reason I love this project is that there are so many excuses to do LEDs on command—holidays, races, sports, birthdays, Star Wars gatherings. Well, you get the idea. The CheerLights site also highlights all the projects being done around the world, so even if you haven’t connected an LED strand of your own, you can still control one by someone else. Of course it is more fun to make one, so your best bet is to read up on our Bluefruit LE Connect App so you can understand how the parts work and plan your layout. You can outline a window, add some color to a hat, bling out a wheelchair or create your own party lights. Make this your first leap into the Internet of Things.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.